George Zimmerman: Killer on the loose

Trayvon Martin is dead. Minutes ago, a Florida jury let George Zimmerman, the guy who killed him, walk.

A Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman of charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter Saturday night in a case that alternately fascinated and appalled large segments of a spellbound nation.

The gun culture rules Florida. I’m sure they’re very proud of themselves. But if Martin had been the neighborhood watch volunteer, and Zimmerman had been the guy with the can of iced tea and the bag of Skittles, Martin would now be on death row.

Think that’s an exaggeration?

If you’re an older white man and you catch your wife cheating on you with another man, you get to kill him, then go free.

If you’re a black woman and you fire a warning shot to scare off a physically abusive husband who’s aggressively coming at you, after saying, “If I can’t have you, no one will,” then you get to go to prison for 20 years. …

This past March, Ralph Wald, 70, got up in the middle of the night, saw his wife Johanna Lynn Flores, 41, in the living room, the arms of his neighbor, Walter Conley, 32. Wald grabbed his gun and shot Conley in the back, three times, killing him. Ward later claimed he thought Conley, a known lover of his wife’s, was raping her. He used the the Stand Your Ground law to bypass justice. On May 30, Ralph Wald walked out of court a free man. …

Three years ago, 31-year old mother of three, Marissa Alexander, acted in self-defense, hurting no one, and received a 20-year conviction. Within 12 minutes, the jury found her guilty of aggravated assault, even though her estranged abusive husband admitted in his deposition, she had every right to do what she did.

That’s what they call justice in Florida. The state’s a moral cesspool.

The latest in gun insanity

Until politicians do something about guns, I’m going to keep posting things like this:

Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law has been cited in hundreds of cases. People have used it to justify shooting, stabbing, killing and maiming would-be intruders, romantic competitors and rival gang members.

And on Sunday, at a pizza joint in St. Petersburg, a man tried to use it as justification for shooting another customer who was yelling at workers because he wasn’t getting his order fast enough.

So, in Florida, people think that if you get into an altercation with someone complaining about bad service at a pizza joint, the way to resolve it is to shoot him?

“There are arguments every day, but how many people pull out a gun? When you pull a gun out and shoot somebody, your life better be in danger,” [Randall] White said. “He was in my face and I pushed him. His life was not being threatened.”

White said he got mad because his thin-crust vegetable pie was taking longer than the 10 minutes he was promised.

“Twenty minutes later, I’m like, ‘Where’s my pizza?’ ” White said.

White, who admitted he was tired and agitated, started talking about the service. That’s when he said [Michael] Jock “started chewing me out.”

White said the gun came out quickly. A shot rang out. The two men wrestled for the gun before the second shot was fired.

White said he still has a bullet fragment in his back.

“I got lucky,” he said. “To me, that stand your ground rule … people are twisting it. He’s twisting it. I walked in to get a pizza and I got shot … I’m hoping the law prevails. We’ll see.”

First of all, the “stand your ground” law is absurd and a government sanctioned ticket for murder. George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin in Florida and is using “stand your ground” as his defense.

Second, if you go by past NRA statements, the guy who got shot should have had a gun. That way he could have defended himself. So instead of one person being shot, there would have been a gunfight in a pizza joint.

Finally, is a Little Caesars pizza really worth dying over?

Meet interesting people and shoot them

Somehow, this seems extremely relevant these days (via Digby):

There’s been a lot of talk about race in the Trayvon Martin case. And race is a significant factor here. But what’s getting lost in the outrage is this (via Pro Publica).

Alabama

Arizona

Georgia

Idaho

Illinois (The law does not includes a duty to retreat, which courts have interpreted as a right to expansive self-defense.)

Indiana

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Michigan

Mississippi

Montana

Nevada

North Carolina

Oklahoma

Oregon (Also does not include a duty to retreat.)

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Washington (Also does not include a duty to retreat.)

West Virginia

If you live in the above states. You are allowed to murder if you think you’re in danger. Even if you’re following a kid with a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles who is walking on the street suspiciously. By the same token, you can be murdered if you’re walking along a street with a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles if you decide to defend yourself from some weird guy who gets out of his SUV and accosts you. And the above states aren’t Florida. Here’s that state’s law.

And what does a guilty person look like?

As Media Reports Conflict, Why Was Trayvon Martin Photo Altered?

Among a few interesting items uncovered in trying to examine the facts behind the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin without drawing any conclusions, was that a widely viewed photograph of Martin appears to have been altered, somewhat….

The one below has been observed in the media and at forums such as Democracy Now. Clearly, it has been lightened, or softened, somehow. Along with other possible alterations, he looks far more, perhaps innocent is the right word, in the altered image.

What? His skin was lightened? That bit of paranoia comes from the Breitbart crowd over at Media Reports Conflict. As Little Green Footballs points out:

It’s a photograph of a low resolution copy of the picture on a sign at a protest — not “the original” at all.

But that’s not relevant. What is relevant is that these right wingers associate light skin with innocence and dark skin with guilt. Just like George Zimmerman did.

And isn’t it a little bit odd that the National Rifle Association, the instigator of these shoot to kill laws, hasn’t said a word about how Trayvon Martin should have been armed to defend himself? Because they always say everybody should have a gun to defend themselves. It’s all about safety, right?

Oh yeah. This was explained in “Bowling for Columbine.”

Vigilante desires

Atrios captures the essence of the Trayvon Martin killing:

Every gun-carrying gun nut I’ve known (not all people who own guns, but the ones who are obsessed with them and who carry them at all times for the claimed purpose of self defense) really really wants the opportunity to kill an armed assailant, usually an off white one. And if an armed assailant never shows up, well…

And Sanford, Florida, police chief Bill Lee is his “Worst Person in the World” because of this:

Police Chief Bill Lee said that although police do not encourage watch program volunteers to carry weapons, he recognizes a citizen’s constitutional right to do so. No arrest was made, Lee said, because there was no evidence to disprove Zimmerman’s account…

“We are taking a beating over this,” said Lee, who defends the investigation. “This is all very unsettling. I’m sure if George Zimmerman had the opportunity to relive Sunday, Feb. 26, he’d probably do things differently. I’m sure Trayvon would, too.”

Vigilantes and guns in Florida

The charge here, at least, should be second degree murder. A 17-year-old kid named Trayvon Martin is walking through a gated community, visiting his family, in Sanford, Florida. A guy in an SUV thinks he’s suspicious, gets out of his SUV and causes a confrontation. He has a gun. The kid has a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. There’s a fight. The kid is dead. When you get out of a car with a gun to confront someone, your intention is to use the gun if things get hairy. There was no reason for this guy to get out of his SUV. The cops told him not to. He should be in jail. He should be convicted.

But now we have a dead kid, and the guy who shot him hasn’t been charged with anything.

Trayvon had left the house he and his father were visiting to walk to the local 7-Eleven. On his way back, he caught the attention of George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain, who was in a sport-utility vehicle. Zimmerman called the police because the boy looked “real suspicious,” according to a 911 call released late Friday. The operator told Zimmerman that officers were being dispatched and not to pursue the boy.

Zimmerman apparently pursued him anyway, at some point getting out of his car and confronting the boy. Trayvon had a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. Zimmerman had a 9 millimeter handgun.

The two allegedly engaged in a physical altercation. There was yelling, and then a gunshot.

When police arrived, Trayvon was face down in the grass with a fatal bullet wound to the chest. Zimmerman was standing with blood on his face and the back of his head and grass stains on his back, according to The Orlando Sentinel.

Trayvon’s lifeless body was taken away, tagged and held. Zimmerman was taken into custody, questioned and released. Zimmerman said he was the one yelling for help. He said that he acted in self-defense. The police say that they have found no evidence to dispute Zimmerman’s claim.

One other point: Trayvon is black. Zimmerman is not.

Trayvon was buried on March 3. Zimmerman is still free and has not been arrested or charged with a crime.